Johnny Cash is a singer-writer of country music born on February 26th, 1932, at Kingsland, Arkansas. He sold more than 90 millions albums during his 50 years carrier.
He was very close to his older brother Jack, so he has been shocked when, aged 14, he hurt himself with a circular saw and died.
At an early age, he began working in cotton fields where he is imerged in folk, country and gospel.
He signs his first album with Sun Records in 1954. At this time, he plays with “the Tennessee Two”.
In the beginning of the 60s, he plays more than 300 times on the same tour. He begin to drink huge quantities of alcool, takes amphetamines and barbiturates. He is soon to become alcoolic and drug addict.
In 1965, on his way back from Mexico, he was arrested by the narcotics squad who seeks heroin. He was only carying amphetamines (legal at this time), he is released.
In 1968, thanks to June Carter and her family, he managed to quit drugs after a month of isolation.
Close to the end of his life, he meets the producer Rick Rubin with whom he released a serie of 6 albums on which we can find cover songs from various artists such as: U2, Nick Cave, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden or even Leonard Cohen.
He dies on September 12th, 2003, only 4 months after the death of his wife June Carter.
“my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt”
Sparklehorse is an American indie rock band sailing between pop and folk music. In 1995, the band, led by its frontman (Mark Linkous), released a first Lp : Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. A confusing opus: Travelling through melancholic pop and “starving rock”, Sparklehorse suggests a paradoxical music. Something like Dr. Jekyll, and Mr. Hyde !
If the American band knows how to make and build indie-rock hits (“Someday I will treat you good”, “Tears on a Fresh Fruits”), it is also gifted for “drumless” dark pop-songs (Spirit Ditch).
“Homecoming Queen” is one of these. The song serves at front door of this debut album and shows off Sparklehorse’s savoir-faire for straightforward, slow and black pieces to advantage. Shy notes are haunted by faraway ghost sounds and led by the bewitching voice of the singer.
The music draws its inspiration from nature, and especially animals. Pretty logical when you know that Linkous shuts himself away in his North Carolina farmhouse. His music is full of Spleen, haunted by two massive overdoses (1990, 1996).
After all, Linkous’ voice is one of his great qualities. Mixing his own singing with the pieces he composes, this artist has a talent for songwriting, especially melodies. Arrogant or intimist, it depends on the song.
“A horse, a horse
my kingdom for a horse
rattling on magnetic fields
Yes, I did use up
the last box of sparklers
before they went bad
got wet or decayed
Teeth what were sharp
are ground down and done
my crooked spine
becoming more brittle
what once grew straight
and tall towards the sun
absorbing back down
to dirt like a sponge”
This british alternative rock band was formed in Abingdon by Thom Yorke (voice), Jonny Greenwood (guitar), Colin Greenwood (bass and keyboard), Ed O’Brien (guitar) and Phil Selway (drums).
The track ‘How to disappear completely’ is extracted from the album Kid A, fourth album of Radiohead. This album is an important step in the carrier of Radiohead. It is more experimental, with electronic sounds and free jazz influences (huge inspiration of another artist: Nujabes).
Unlike most of the tracks of this album, in that song the guitar keeps a huge presence and stays all along to take us by the hand and lead us into this spleen-esque track.
“That there, that’s not me
I go where I please
I walk through walls
I float down the Liffey
I’m not here
This isn’t happening
I’m not here, I’m not here
In a little while
I’ll be gone
The moment’s already passed
Yeah, it’s gone”
Xiu Xiu band took its name from the Chinese film of the same name released in 1998. It was composed in San Jose, California by Jamie Stewart, Yvonne Chen, Cory McCullough, and Lauren Andrews.
They are primarily known thanks their participation on many compilations which were released even before they produced their first album in 2002.
When listening to their songs we can clearly distinguish the influences of groups such as The Cure or Joy Division. They use electronic sounds mixed with powerful rhythms and rock loops. All these combined with the voice of Jamie Stewart full of concealed energy but so stunning.
The song Clowne Towne is taken from the third album of the group Xiu Xiu: Fabulous Muscles, released in 2004. Most tracks of this band deal with dark subjects such as AIDS, war or suicide. Clowne Towne is no exception to the rule, and we can feel all the melancholy and spleen in this song.
“Your true father smashed his hands through the glass
And failed out of the priviledged life of his dream
Your true love has drunk herself into not being able to pay her rent
Or keeping her own word to her own self
Your true brother has betrayed you over and over
And looked you in the eye
Your true self has become weak and alone and annoying
And a true ridiculous dumb-ass.”
OutKast is an american group of hip-hop coming from Atlanta, Georgia. They get known by the originality of their musical style, composed of a mixture of funk, electro, rock, soul, jazz and crunk.
It is one of the most rewarded group of hip-hop of all time with six Grammy Awards. Their double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is one of three albums of hip-hop to be certified diamond.
This double album released in 2003 is actually composed of two solo albums. The song My Favorite Things is on Andre 3000′s album: The Love Below.
This track, far away from commercial successes as The Way you Move and Hey Ya!, is a sad ballad sung by André 3000 in duo with Norah Jones.
“Baby, take off your cool
I wanna see you, I wanna see you
Baby, don’t be so cool
I wanna see you, I wanna see you.”